2 Bad Riddims: The Stalag versus The Sleng Teng

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stalag-sleng_teng

It’s brings me great pleasure to release this episode of the Reggae Lover Podcast which features two riddims that were suggested by my listeners: the Stalag version and the Sleng Teng rhythm. If you have ever been to a reggae dance or concert, you have definitely heard songs on one or both of these legendary riddim tracks which have had a dominating prominence in the dancehall for three decades.

I selected this 22 song playlist out of the hundreds of tunes that have been recorded over these versions. The mix is comprised mostly of the original cuts produced by Winston “Techniques” Riley and Lloyd ‘King Jammy’ James. Please submit playlist suggestions and feedback to ReggaeLoverPodcast@gmail.com.

In Jamaica, the Stalag version (or Stalag riddim) is a popular reggae rhythm, which came to prominence in the 1970s. It was originally written and performed as “Stalag 17” (named after the 1953 war film) by Ansell Collins, and released by Winston Riley‘s Techniques record label in 1973.

It was mainly used for dub instrumental versions, often b-sides of records. The rhythm also influenced early hip-hop, and can be discerned on Public Enemy’s hit ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ as well as on Too Short’s Blowjob Betty.

Sleng Teng is the name given to the first fully computerized riddim in Jamaican music. The riddim, which was created by the collaboration between King Jammy and Wayne Smith, was titled “Under Mi Sleng Teng“. Wayne Smith found the computerized sound in Noel Davey’s keyboard, and together he and Davey arranged the riddim, slowed it down, matched it to Smith’s key, and rehearsed on it with lyrics inspired by Barrington Levy’s “Under Mi Sensi” and Yellowman’s “Under me fat ting”, before taking it to Jammy’s studio in late 1984. The riddim itself is apparently an attempt to recreate Eddie Cochran’s 1959 rockabilly song “Somethin’ Else.” It is a pattern found in the Casio MT-40 home keyboard.

After the riddim was brought to the studio and Jammy heard it, he then slowed it further and placed piano and a clap on it. Jammy recorded a number of other artists on the original backing track including Tenor Saw (with “Pumpkin Belly”), and Johnny Osbourne (with “Buddy Bye”). The tunes were first unleashed at a now legendary soundclash between Jammy’s own sound system and Black Scorpio at Waltham Park Road on February 23, 1985.

Stalag 17 Playlist

1 Frankie Paul – Don’t Worry Yourself – Volcano
2 General Echo – Arlene – Techniques
3 Admiral Tibett – Trouble To A Man – Techniques
4 Little Kirk – Whats Love Got To Do – Techniques
5 Yami Bolo – Take It Easy – Techniques
6 Cocoa Tea – We Do The Killing – Digital B
7 Super Beagle – Soundboy Dust Out – Techniques
8 Tenor Saw and Buju Banton – Ring The Alarm Quick – Techniques
9 Sister Nancy – Bam Bam – Techniques
10 Cutty Ranks – Rude Bwoy Game – Techniques
11 Nicodemus – Suzy Wong – Skengdon

Sleng Teng Playlist

1 Wayne Smith – Under Me Sleng Teng – Jammys
2 Tenor Saw – Pumpkin Belly – Jammys
3 Echo Minott – Original Fat Ting – Jammys
4 Buddy Bye – Johnny Osbourne – Jammys
5 Josey Wales – Cowboy Style – Jammys
6 Yelloman – Reggae Ambassador – Jammys
7 Tony Curtis – Weak – John John
8 Anthony Red Rose – Under Me Fat Ting – King Tubbys
9 John Wayne – Call The Police For Me – Jammys
10 Super Cat – Trash and Ready – Jammys
11 Frankie Paul – Cassandra – Steely and Clevie

King Kong, Nitty Gritty, Half Pint and Tenor Saw: Featured Reggae Singers

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This was a listener requested mix consisting of the biggest tracks from 4 singers: King Kong, Half Pint, Tenor Saw and Nitty Gritty. Ray said he thought these artists sound alike and that called for a mix with their hits.

artwork forReggae Lover Podcast Episode 16 - King Kong, Nitty Gritty, Half Pint, Tenor Saw

Reggae Lover Podcast Episode 16 – King Kong, Nitty Gritty, Half Pint, Tenor Saw

Their voices are easily distinguishable to my ear, but I agree that Tenor Saw and Nitty Gritty sang with a very similar and unique style.  King Kong ended up copying that style of vocal delivery, but Half Pint carved out his own lane on the way to enormous success in the 1980s and 90s as a reggae crooner.

RIP to Nitty Gritty and Tenor Saw whose likes were cut down way too early. This is a dedication to you and every reggae lover.

Tracklist

1 Jah Jah Rule – King Kong
2 Message To All Beginners – Tenor Saw
3 Greetings – Half Pint
4 Roll Call – Tenor Saw
5 Lots of Sign – Tenor Saw
6 Run Come Call Me – Tenor Saw
7 Trouble Again – King Kong
8 Pumpkin Belly (Old Time Proverbs) – Tenor Saw
9 Run Down The World – Nitty Gritty
10 Mr. Landlord – Half Pint
11 One Big Family – Half Pint
12 Rub A Dub Market – Tenor Saw
13 Who Is Gonna Help Me Praise – Tenor Saw
14 Draw Mi Mark – Nitty Gritty
15 Soul Mate – Half Pint
16 Golden Hen – Tenor Saw
17 Champion Sound – King Kong
18 Ring The Alarm Quick – Tenor Saw / Buju Banton
19 False Alarm – Nitty Gritty
20 Good Morning Teacher – Nitty Gritty
21 Fever – Tenor Saw
22 Crazy Girl – Half Pint
23 Hog Inna Minty – Nitty Gritty
24 Zero Them Minds – Nitty Gritty
25 Substitute Lover – Half Pint
26 Shirley Jones – Tenor Saw
27 Winsome – Half Pint
28 We Run Things – Nitty Gritty
29 Where Is Your Culture – King Kong
30 No Work On Sunday – Tenor Saw
31 Stand Me Now – King Kong
32 Kill Dem Wid It – King Kong
33 My Sound Stands Alone – King Kong
34 Ready Done – Nitty Gritty

Reggae Vault Classics Podcast Series – Episode 2

Highlanda Sound has put together something for the fans of that “Finest Years” era of dancehall. Reggae Vault Classics is here to represent the foundation of the music.

Listen to an episode and you will hear right away that Reggae Vault Classics features only classics mixed and blended so you can turn up your speakers or headphones and get lost in Kahlil Wonda’s mixes.

RVC Episode 2 starts off with Dennis Brown singing ‘Stop the Fussing and Fighting’ on the Real Rock riddim.  The mix also includes tunes on some of the biggest riddems ever such as Stalag, Far East, Swing Easy, and The General.

English: Reggae Singer Dennis Brown in Paris, ...

English: Reggae Singer Dennis Brown in Paris, France Français : Le chanteur de Reggae Dennis Brown à Paris (Palace) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Expect to hear artists and selections you don’t hear everyday, or maybe even every year for that matter.  The selection order and mixing are masterful, which makes it easy for anyone to enjoy, whether you are a dancehall novice or a foundation reggae enthusiast.

Click here to Listen: Reggae Vault Classics Episode 2.

1   Stop the Fussing and Fighting – Dennis Brown
2   Drop It Cool – Terror Fabulous
3   Putting Up ResistanceBeres Hammond
4   He Is My Friend – Luciano
5   Know Jah – Tony Rebel
6   Ganja Song – Spragga Benz/Baby Cham
7   Sensimelia Persecution – Buju Banton
8   Every Knee Shall Bow – Garnett Silk/Cocoa Tea/Charlie Chaplin
9   True Love – White Mice
10  Send Them Come – Terry Ganzie
11  Murderer – Buju Banton
12  Cold Blooded Murderer – Capleton
13  Nuh Have No Heart – Bounty Killer
14  Blood Stain – Pinchers
15  Reality – Shabba Ranks
16  Tune In – Cocoa Tea
17  Here I Am – Sanchez
18  Are You Still In Love With Me – Sanchez
19  Dances Are Changing – Barrington Levy
20  Ever Changing Times – Alton Black
21  Goodie Goodie – Colin Roach/Galaxy P
22  Kill A Sound – Quench Aid